After mass shootings, strict gun-control measure gets enough signatures to make Oregon’s fall ballot

You’d have to qualify for a permit to buy a gun. Oregon appears to be the only state with a gun safety initiative on the ballot this year. Volunteers stepped up after mass shootings in Highland Park, Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo.

SHARE After mass shootings, strict gun-control measure gets enough signatures to make Oregon’s fall ballot
Rev. Mark Knutson (right), chief petitioner of a gun permit initiative, in Oregon, speaks at a rally, joined by Rabbi Michael Cahana (center) outside the state capitol in Salem before signatures were delivered to Oregon elections officials to get the proposal on the ballot.

Rev. Mark Knutson (right), chief petitioner of a gun permit initiative, in Oregon, speaks at a rally, joined by Rabbi Michael Cahana (center) outside the state capitol in Salem before signatures were delivered to Oregon elections officials to get the proposal on the ballot.

Andrew Selsky / AP

SALEM, Ore. — Oregonians will decide in November whether people wanting to buy a gun will first have to qualify for a permit now that one of the strictest gun-control proposals in the nation has qualified for a spot on the ballot.

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s elections division determined that the gun-safety campaign delivered enough verified signatures of registered voters to put Initiative 17 on the ballot for the Nov. 8 election.

“I was thrilled to hear the news and thankful for the 1,600 volunteers, of all ages” said the Rev. Mark Knutson, a chief petitioner of the initiative.

he pastor of a Lutheran church in Portland, Knutson said that, after he heard the measure would be on the ballot, he said a prayer “for those who’ve been affected by gun violence in this nation, especially Buffalo, Uvalde and Highland Park, recently.”

The phenomenon of mass shootings created “a surge of volunteers” to gather signatures, Knutson said.

“We didn’t go out seeking more volunteers because they came to us,” he said.

And it inspired more voters to sign the petition.

“I signed it to keep our kids safe because something needs to change,” Raevahnna Richardson said after she signed it last month. “I have a kid that’s going to be in first grade this upcoming season, and I don’t want her to have to be scared at school.”

The measure would ban large-capacity magazines over 10 rounds — with an exception for current owners, law enforcement and the military — and require a permit to buy any gun. To qualify for a permit, an applicant would need to complete an approved firearms-safety course, pay a fee, provide personal information, submit to fingerprinting and photographing and pass a criminal background check.

The Oregon state police would create a firearms database. Applicants would apply for the permit from their local police chief, county sheriff or someone the police designate.

The National Rifle Association has denounced the initiative, posting, “These anti-gun citizens are coming after YOU, the law-abiding firearm owners of Oregon, and YOUR guns.”

Oregon appears to be the only state in America with a gun-safety initiative on the ballot this year, according to Sean Holihan of Giffords, an organization dedicated to saving lives from gun violence.

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